Entertainment

It’s always sunny in South Central in the Hulu comedy

Chris Estrada in That Fool

Chris Estrada a This fool
photo: Tyler Golden/Hulu

No one”motherfucker”-s like Michael Imperioli. That mother is draaawn out, fired with the snarl of a lawnmower just pulled and riddled with a deep gut resentment that fucker comes almost like the release, the exhale, the purr of pissed off disbelief caused by whatever injustice the world has set before him. In this case it is Richard Branson or the “Space Knight”. motherfucker‘ who ran his donation cheap to Hugs Not Thugs, the ‘fifth largest gangster rehabilitation center in Los Angeles’ set up by Imperioli Minister Leonard Payne. It’s a welcome introduction to his character and a delightful reintroduction to the frustrating parts of the frustration that Imperioli cooked up as Christopher Moltisanti The sopranos. There he was one of the key comedic characters in one of the funniest shows that no one thought was a capital C comedy.

He just so happens to be one of the key comedic pieces here in a show that begins with a much more unsettling sort of aural confusion. In the first two episodes of This foola drive-by is played for laughs, a gang brawl is treated with nostalgic exuberance by former members stuck by time and life and sciatic nerves, and “Don’t Text And Drive” is epitaphed onscreen with operatic levity .

There’s also perhaps a bigger mystery outside the writers’ room, which is whether or not the comedy, in which Julio (Chris Estrada) counsels ex-convicts, including his recently released cousin, is actually funny. Certainly can be, as in the first episode, in which intimidating men with facial tattoos run Trust Falls and Julio praises a newcomer to the virtues of the place: “We remove more tattoos than anyone else in Los Angeles,” he says, adding that they “get free legal advice ” to offer [and] Solar panel installation courses.” Or later, when he describes why there’s no reason he couldn’t be Bourdain: “I ate foy grey Before.” To which his ex-girlfriend Maggie replies, “You don’t even know how to pronounce it foy grey.” For his part, Imperioli steals almost every one of his scenes, striking an early chord during an extended lecture about failure, all the wide-eyedness and fake profundity, his capacity for humor enhanced by his ability to take himself so stupidly seriously.

The show can also be, as many characters repeatedly criticize, “cheesy”. A Salvadoran resents being called Mexican; A deceased friend nicknamed “Fatass” has, yes, “Fatass” engraved on his urn. Varying between moans and twitches, Julio’s cousin Luis (Frankie Quinones) constantly teases the balls with “gay boys” and people like “y’all talkin’ harder than motherfucking.” outlook‘ and sort of, ‘Do you need a Viagra?’ Maybe it’s just more uneven than cheesy, more awkward than ha-ha, as smart as obvious, as clueless as convenient to take real problems of modern LA — gun violence, gang culture — and use them as Setting the backdrop for thematic annoyances can be casually fluted like Bradley Newell might rap on a Sublime track.

However, once the show settles down, it finds a groove akin to the Chicano Batman theme that opens each episode. With a delightful reliance on old-school soul (Brenton Wood, Bill Withers) and palm trees and Dodgers decorum and shit-shooting around the dinner table with elderly relatives, there’s a lively flow that settles into a rhythm somewhere between bilingual modern family and less lesson-y Gentified. The stakes are mostly low, it’s always sunny in South Central, even if you meet up for a brawl “in the park at sunset,” and by episode four even the toughest TV critic might do well to take Julio’s epiphany to heart : ” How about? I’ll stop being a little bitch.”

Michael Imperioli in That Fool

Michael Imperioli a This fool
photo: Gilles Mingasson/Hulu)

At this point, everyone can appreciate the physical humor of Julio giving his nephews fireworks to set off to distract the family so he can walk away from birthday engagements, or Luis putting Julio in a headlock to lock him in place hold while the family sings “Feliz Cumpleanos,” or an elaborate and absurd slow-motion ball-hitting scene, or an episode-long tribute Austin Powers.

Estrada, who co-created the show and took inspiration from his real life, plays Julio with the same clean-shaven, subtly pomaded, nice guy twist that fills his standup persona. He is mocked for having “lawyer hands” and is seen by his abuela as someone who “always cries, just a little”. He’s a man who genuinely and fully enjoys his pour-over coffee situation, while coming across as alternately sweet and cloying. (“The average life expectancy of a gangster is 24 years, but the life expectancy of a punk ass bitch is 76 years,” he informs.) He’s both tallbold and be use from “big dawg” makes it a varying mix of happy and punchy.

As his on-again-ex-ex, Michelle Ortiz breathes fire into the manic-pixie ex-girlfriend template, with high-pitched outbursts that morph into raunchy endearments. She steals/borrows Julio’s Accord before berating him for the check engine light being on, lashing out with lines like “We had sex in the back seat, it is our Dare.” She interrupts his date to get him to come over to help find a missing pet bunny, a la Annie Hall‘s spiders in the bathroom scene and eventually tried to persuade him to stay on “I got Wendy’s”. In the apparent spirit of yin-yang buddy comedies, Luis comes across as openly ex-con dopey, overdoing the easy parts and brazenly leaning into casual homophobia. It’s not 2005, as he’s constantly reminded — “Tobey Maguire isn’t Spiderman anymore,” says Julio — but was he in prison or in a coma? Were we still making Viagra jokes in 2005 and asking, “Does that make your boyfriend jealous?”

This fool | Official Trailer | Hi

yes it is a show about redemption, about mitigating relapses with good cupcake sales. “People love to buy cupcakes from ex-gang members,” says Imperioli, in one of his many ironclad words. “If Girl Scouts ever start getting face tattoos, we’re screwed.” And it’s about family, annoying as it can be at times. These are the standard themes of any harmless Thursday night family sitcom. Of course, you can watch this movie whenever you want, as one of the best back-and-forths between Luis and his ex-fiancé reminds us:

“You’re a fucking loser with a weird cock.”

“Fuck you, curvy cocks are normal.”

“You know that Judge Judy will rule in my favor.”

“Your show is over, idiot.”

“She’s got a new one, idiot.”

“What time? I want to watch.”

“It’s streaming, so it’s always available.”

Within such a ping-pong banter is where This fool finds his bag. Like when Imperioli, overly stoic, overzealous, is asked about his documentary Playset Hope, a chronicle of a real ping pong tournament in Skid Row. A tagline at the bottom of the film’s poster hanging in his office declares, “A film you may soon forget, but shouldn’t.” And so it feels like things could work out for this show. However, once a rhythm is established This fool is hilariously funny about what it’s really about, what it’s really about: who’s going to watch your shitty documentary even though they think there’s too much flute in the soundtrack? Who cares enough to steal your toilet paper from work, even if it’s single-ply? Who makes you your favorite Tres Leches cake even though you hate your birthday? Who shows up for you even if a “homegirl” stole their Honda? And who will you stand by even if he keeps quoting Austin Powers?

https://www.avclub.com/this-fool-review-hulu-tv-chris-estrada-1849386818 It’s always sunny in South Central in the Hulu comedy

Andrew Schnitker

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